June 11: Tussle over control of shrines leads to their closure in Islamabad
On May 14, the custodian of a shrine in Islamabad, HIS, lodged a complaint that a man NHS, and his 15 supporters, had stolen steel bars from the shrine. HIS allegedly planted religiously symbolic flags to claim land for adding a seminary and living quarters to the shrine, which NHS reported to the administration as being illegal. NHS too wanted a seminary and other structures constructed but under the control of the shrine committee. Their rivalry led the police to quash the theft case against NHS and the Islamabad administration took control of the shrine. The shrine is now sealed until the rival sides settle their dispute.
In a similar dispute on April 18, one side erected a 20-metre high 'alam' there and added 13 more in the next two days. The other party however, did not accept the claim that they represented a centuries-old tradition and removed them on April 20. The police registered a case of blasphemy on the complaint of a member of the aggrieved party. When the opposing party went to the same police station to file a counter complaint, two people appeared and started shooting at the party as it stood outside the police station. As a result one person was killed and two injured. Dawn